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Laguna Beach


Statement from Laguna Beach Police Employees’ Association regarding new graphics on police vehicles

As President of the Laguna Beach Police Employees’ Association representing 85 members within the Laguna Beach Police Department, I feel it is necessary to share the opinion of our officers in regards to the American flag being part of the new graphics on our police vehicles. The officers of the Laguna Beach Police Employees’ Association love the new design on our police vehicles. We feel that having the American flag displayed on our police vehicles symbolizes all of the good things that this city, county, state, and country not only stand for but strive to achieve. America and its flag represents something larger than itself: Freedom, democracy, human rights, and equality for all. Every law enforcement officer in the country takes an oath to follow and uphold the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics. Part of it reads, “Our fundamental duty is to serve mankind; to safeguard lives and property; to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation, and the peaceful against violence or disorder; and to respect the Constitutional rights of all men to liberty, equality and justice.” Every day our officers and thousands of officers around this country leave their families behind and put themselves in harm’s way to protect others. Are we perfect? Of course not, we’re human. But we strive to uphold the law while also being fair. The American flag represents the ideals that we should all strive to achieve and the officers of the Laguna Beach Police Department proudly support the flag and we hope that it remains on our police cars as a symbol of pride in all that America stands for. 

Ryan Hotchkiss

Laguna Beach Police Employees’ Association President


Recent negative paid ad against Charm House Tour is shameful

I am writing is response to the negative paid ad that was published in the latest edition of Stu News.

During the last election a small group of nine developers formed a PAC and “bought” the last election by spending over $150,000 to get their pro-development candidates elected. The negative ad about the Charm House Tour placed in last week’s edition is an apparent holdover from the election, an attempt to destroy all reasonable opposition to over development in our community, an agenda the ad purchaser seems to share with that PAC. We believe the ad is very misleading and is trying to turn the town against what for almost a half a century has been a wonderful experience of what so many of us love about Laguna.

Village Laguna, a nonprofit mutual benefit community corporation, is opposed to over development and has been working since 1971 to preserve, enhance, and celebrate the unique village character and cultural heritage of Laguna Beach. Village Laguna not only supports likeminded candidates for city council but annually awards a scholarship to a deserving Laguna Beach High School graduate. Village Laguna also donates annually to nine local community organizations (Friendship Shelter, La Playa Center, Day Workers Center, Laguna Beach Community Clinic, Laguna Bluebelt Coalition, Laguna Canyon Foundation, Laguna Pantry, Kelp Fest, and South Laguna Community Garden).

Every year for the past 46 years, Village Laguna has held a Charm House Tour that not only helps us fulfil our mission but also reminds us of what makes Laguna Laguna. This year’s Charm House Tour is especially noteworthy and is called A Century of Laguna Charm, featuring five North Laguna homes, from one of the earliest cottages (1918) through a mid-century modern to a spectacular contemporary. The Charm House Tour is on Sunday, May 19, 2019, which commemorates the beauty and splendor of Laguna. To order tickets, visit the Village Laguna website online, or pick them up at several merchants in town.

Please join us on the Tour in celebrating the Laguna we love.

Johanna Felder, President Village Laguna

Laguna Beach


New PD cruisers are ugly

The new black and white police cruisers with huge flags on the side are just plain ugly. Our police chief says they are “traditional.” We have never been a traditional town and the white cars with giant blue letters spelling POLICE much better reflect our unique tradition of loving art, the ocean, our canyon’s filled with wildlife, our fabulous summer festivals, and our main value of being an open and friendly society.

As far as tradition goes, Chicago hasn’t had black and white police cruisers since the late 1950s and NYC with 35,000 cops has white cars with blue trim, the same as Chicago, and they look good.

I like our white and blue trimmed police cars and hope the city council does too.

Roger Carter

Laguna Beach


Let’s do our part to help our planet, Laguna

As many of us become aware of our impact on the planet overall, and our town specifically, I would like to share a few things I have learned. Maybe some of the readers are aware of them:

Did you know it can take 400 to 500 years for aluminum foil to decompose – never mind how much energy it takes to make it – from start to end for products such as a can of soda? Instead of using aluminum foil have you considered using parchment paper (its first edition was made from papyrus reeds in the Nile) for baking, cooking (try making individual packets of fish with each packet having a different flavor/seasoning), and wrapping food? Parchment paper can be reused depending on how it was used the first go round. Some parchment paper comes with a silicon coating and should not be put in the recycled bin but it will decompose otherwise in a few days/week especially if it has food remnants. If you bake a lot, silicon pads are the way to go.

What do you do with all those wine corks? I found out that the Whole Foods Market in Los Olivos – off the 405 freeway at Irvine Center Drive – will take and recycle them. What are some uses for recycled cork? When I was in Portugal last year I saw shoes with platform soles/trim, wallets, purses, as well the traditional things we see – coasters, cork boards, flooring, the list goes on. Of course, only the real cork will also compost. I plan on asking various restaurants in town to save them for me so I can take them to the Whole Foods store once a month – well maybe once a week if the restaurants all participate. I had a big bag full just from neighbors and friends.

Use simple inexpensive white vinegar and pour it along cracks in driveways/patios, bricks, where weeds tend to grow. By the next morning voila they are dead and you have not inflicted any damage to the soil underneath. Sure beats using the many chemicals that are out there for getting rid of weeks, especially Roundup at its manufacturer is looking at hundreds of lawsuits by people who have used the product for years and are claiming cancer from it. Vinegar also works down the sinks/toilet (once a month about a cup or so). I have an Asko washing machine and the repairman said pour vinegar into the soap dispenser – good for laundry and good for the internal works of the machine. Have been doing this for years.

A friend of mine’s husband died several months ago and she found six old digital cameras. I took them and am trying to find the best way to dispose I found that Salvation Army and Goodwill will take them. They have people in rehabilitation programs being trained to do some interesting things including refurbishing old cameras. I also gave them a very old boombox. The staff at the store in El Toro was so excited to see these items.

Several weeks ago I suggested taking old, worn, soiled clothes and even not so worn, soiled clothes and donating them to H&M – they will repurpose fabric – cotton can be used to make paper products (as we run out of trees), and other fabrics can be reused to make synthetic products. 

Can you think of other good things to do? Get your children/grandchildren involved and let’s be the City that does the most to recycle. I will propose that challenge at the next city council meeting.

Ganka Brown

Laguna Beach


Charm House Tour feels very deceptive

Village Laguna’s biggest fundraiser every year is the Charm House Tour. It’s packaged as a benign beautiful way to peek inside some iconic and historic houses in Laguna. In reality, it funds Village Laguna’s political objectives, as outlined on the organization’s website. Right on their website, in the number one position of “Issues that Matter to us,” is Design Review Replacement. By their strategic placement of Village Laguna members and supporters on local committees, they stranglehold the Design Review Board Committee, the Heritage Committee, and the Planning Commission by making rulings that are in line with what they want you to do with your property, eviscerating your property rights, I believe. Apparently Village Laguna thinks it knows best, not you. 

To buy Charm House tickets you must go to the Village Laguna website. But did you know that a substantial portion of the ticket proceeds are then transferred to their Political Action Committee? Why is there no mention on Charm House advertising or marketing materials that proceeds go to support their PAC, which funds like-minded local candidates, which many feel are obstructionists and vote by Village Laguna’s apparent anti-property rights agenda? Sure seems like the transfer of funds from VL’s nonprofit to its PAC violates the law. Isn’t VL required to tell you where the Charm House Tour ticket money is going? Their website is very clear where the money goes: “Because of Village Laguna’s commitment to preserving and enhancing both the character and heritage of Laguna and the habitat that surround it, we financially support City Council candidates that most closely agree with these values.” Yet not one word on their ads – this feels very deceptive!

So before you pay that $50 to visit these cute houses, realize that your money is going to fund city council members and committee members who seem to care more about the Village Laguna agenda than your property rights. Beware of the hidden agenda many of us are seeing. Ask yourself if you are agreeable with your ticket dollars ultimately being used for political gain, and possibly limiting your property rights. Many believe it’s a dance with the devil, and that you and your property rights will get burned. 

William Rousseau

Laguna Beach


Thank you Barbara Diamond and Stu News

LOCA Arts Education sends a big thank you to Stu News and Barbara Diamond for her excellent story on the LOCA Birthday Bash. Readers were thrilled!

Barbara is a wonderful person, a great reporter, and an asset for our community.

LOCA’s fundraiser was the most successful to date, and we are thankful to Stu News for sharing our stories with the public.

Thank you!

Mike Tauber

Laguna Beach


Please hire/rent/produce/raise/artificially inseminate more goats

Sorry to read the article on the overly “energetic” young men harassing the goatherd. But, can we impress upon those in control, whoever “they” may be, of the use, assignment, budget, designation, and location of the goatherds that more are immediately necessary. 

Your article said we have had up to 600 goats in the past. Never saw that many but now is the time to start emergency allocation, emplacement, and acquisition. It seems that at least tripling the number of herds and herders is immediately mandatory to quickly circumnavigate the city, without limitations. The dry season began this week. To wit: look at the use of up to 10+/- workers trimming down the weeds just alongside the roadway in Park Ave Arroyo and they have spent at least three days to date with weed wackers without being able to finish the job and that is only alongside the road. We need attention now! No Paradise, Calif. here please!

As an aside, maybe we can assign punishment to the harassers of the goats to pick up the “droppings” that so offended a Council candidate and her sensibilities of the environmental pollution, to clean up after the goats, if they can differentiate those from the poop of the squirrels, raccoons, rodents, rabbits, coyotes, deer, etc. After all, recycling this naturally organic fertilizer from regurgitation of the existing flora into the hillsides imaginatively pristine from invasion of the original native vegetation, whatever that may be, since the pre-advent of the “native” California Indians/natives invaders from Asia, may be destructive after all these years.

Please redirect and reallocate assets now... ASAP! Only they can prevent/limit wildfires!

Byron Nelson

Laguna Beach


School Board rookie strikes out

School Board member James Kelly showed up at a meeting and voted with the Board majority to repeal the rule that everyone I know feel was breached by the Board when supposedly electing the current President. At the same time Kelly writes letters to Stu News touting what we all support that is good about our schools.

Kelly’s message seems to be that strength in many areas and re-accreditation justify an illegitimate Board vote on its officers.

Our community funded schools spend over $60 million a year for a small school system, we darn well better get re-accredited and win outstanding school awards. Teachers, students, and parents get credit for success. The job of the School Board and LBUSD staff is to deliver resources and support for quality classroom learning on time in compliance with school rules.

Spending twice per student over comparable districts, some argue tangible metrics should at least equal districts spending far less. Not the case, especially in math. Even if tax dollar investment were yielding greater intangible well-being returns for students, teachers, and families, that wouldn’t justify shoddy governance practices.

A vote conducted for all other Board members one way but differently for the one independent outspoken member discriminatorily denies equal rights to represent voters. If Board majority wanted to change its election rules, time for that was before election, as Board member Perry correctly argued.

Repealing the rule after breaking it confirmed rather than cured the defect. Kelly was absent when Perry urged the Board that it needed to follow its rules if it expects the same of parents, students, teachers, and the public.

We hear Kelly’s missed multiple meetings since being elected, missing dozens of votes, except he made it to vote for repeal of the violated rule after the fact. I hope unverified but widespread reports of business and another place of residence elsewhere impeding his Board service are not true.

What’s wonderful about our schools doesn’t warrant rationalization for failure to address real problems degrading good governance and civic culture of community education.

The idea high achievement justifies breaking rules is not only a bad civics lesson for students, it seemingly is precisely the mentality that led to the college admissions scandal implicating seemingly hyper-aggressive parents acting out as school boosters in our town.

Instead of telling us to move on Kelly needs to show up and stand up for following rules, not bending rules to circumvent not redeem the promise of democracy.    

Christopher Kling

Laguna Beach


No threatening political language in Laguna

Politics is a contact sport. Candidates understand there is no trophy for simply showing up. With these thoughts in mind, is it any wonder chants like “Lock her up” and “AOC sucks” are heard at GOP political rallies coast to coast? In my opinion, it’s all part of the coarse, win-at-any-cost mentality that has engulfed our country since 2016. 

Having first moved to Laguna in 1970, I have attended my fair share of city council meetings. My memory is far from perfect, but I never remember residents being so worked up about an issue – from the height limitation referendum to various tax increases to the village entrance and more – that they chanted anything like what we are hearing now on a daily basis.

With apologies to the council members I won’t be mentioning, imagine how shocked we would be if people started yelling “Lock Toni up” or “Peter sucks” every other Tuesday. Frankly it’s unthinkable, which begs the question: If people from both sides of the political aisle wouldn’t put up with it here at home, then why aren’t good, decent Republicans just as horrified about what they are witnessing on a national level?

I grew up in a political family. My father was a delegate to the 1952, ‘56 and ‘60 Democratic National Conventions. Two weeks before entering the 7th grade, my dad introduced me to then-Senator John F. Kennedy. I never will forget shaking the hand of the future president at the San Francisco Airport. 

After graduating from Stanford in 1959, my older brother worked for Senator Clair Engle on Capitol Hill and decades later was picked to be a federal elector in 2000 and 2008. For my part, I served as a staff assistant to Rep. Don Edwards in 1972, and as a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee in 1974.

In stark contrast to what I have seen these last two years, I believe in civil discourse and the need to protect people’s right to vote. Call me a dinosaur, but aren’t these the fundamental building blocks of American democracy?

Threatening one’s political opponents with jail or worse is what dictators and unruly mobs do in other parts of the world. We never would allow that here in Laguna, so why is it acceptable, no encouraged, at GOP rallies in Michigan or Pennsylvania for example?

Mindful that celebrities like Kathy Griffin and Madonna have made outlandish statements of their own, let me remind you neither has resulted in ugly chants by tens of thousands in an arena. That said, I invite my Republican friends in town to respond to my question.

Denny Freidenrich
Laguna Beach


Bluebelt supports AB 65 (Petrie-Norris) for sea level rise and green infrastructure

The Laguna Bluebelt Coalition supports AB 65 to significantly invest in the use of natural, or “green,” infrastructure along the coast of California.

Working together with individuals and organizations, the Laguna Bluebelt Coalition is dedicated to protecting and restoring Laguna Beach’s State Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) with natural processes. Restoration of tide pools, wetlands, and kelp forests capable of sequestering atmospheric carbon is the foundation for coastal green infrastructure. Key to our success is improvement in ocean water quality by reducing anthropogenic impacts such as urban runoff and secondary sewage discharges along the coast.

A dramatic increase in local marine mammal strandings and deaths is alarming evidence we must take multiple steps to address Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) fed by “nutrient-rich” discharges. As HABs die off, oxygen is removed from seawater leading to Domoic Acid (DO) poisoning of thousands of fish and marine mammals. Dense HABs also retain heat adding to recent elevated sea surface temperatures as ocean waters expand, much like slowly boiling water in a pan, leading to sea level rise.

Along with companion legislation introduced by California Senate Majority Leader Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), SB 332, the Local Water Reliability Act would reduce the amount of treated wastewater dumped into the ocean each year and set bold goals for recycling and reuse consistent with Laguna Beach’s September 16, 2014 Resolution to Modernize the Coastal Treatment Plant.

AB 65 will continue to broaden California’s diverse approach in mitigating climate change, as there is no one solution to this developing crisis. A healthy ocean determines California’s thriving economy and world-class quality of life. The State’s economy depends on a sustainable ecology and courageous leadership.

The community of Laguna Beach will suffer enormous consequences as rising sea levels inundate lower elevations in the downtown areas and beaches. Local coastal properties will also be impacted along with our health in the presence of HABs and Domoic Acid outbreaks. Legislation, such as AB 65 and SB 332, is essential in shaping the future and health of Laguna Beach’s legendary Bluebelt ocean waters annually attracting over 6 million visitors from around the world.

As we integrate land and ocean systems with sound science, multiple tools, techniques, and technologies implemented with a sense of urgency can support investments in green and gray infrastructure to preserve and protect the California coast.The Laguna Bluebelt Coalition supports AB 65 and remains ready to add to this landmark effort whenever and wherever is necessary. Please join us to support green investments.

Mike Beanan

Laguna Beach

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